The shark sanctuary Cayman Islands and Sint Maarten will help to protect species while enjoying the marine ecosystem and ecotourism
The Cayman Islands and Sint Maarten have a wide variety of shark species, some of which reside here full time as black tips, great hammerhead, oceanic whitetip, silky, lemon, Caribbean, nurse, tiger, and etc … some of which are transient – through seasonal migration routes.
Of all of these species, about 40% are endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), about 40% are near-threatened and, for the remaining 20%, the data would be insufficient. Some Caribbean islands have established sanctuaries to protect sharks.
In St. Barth, since last year, species are closed to fishing (hammerhead sharks, nurse, whale, most species of rays) and this year, the Cayman Islands and Sint Marteen just created a shark sanctuary where commercial shark fishing is completely prohibited in the inner of their exclusive economic Zone (EEZ).
The two heads of government were encouraged by Richard Branson, the Shark Specialist, The Pew Charitable Trusts and various NGOs. “People from the whole world come to our island to scuba dive and snorkel to discover our marine life including sharks and rays” said Irania Arrindell, Minister of Tourism of Sint Maarten.
With the Cayman Islands and Sint Maarten, there are now 14 shark sanctuaries in the world, an area of 15.5 million square kilometers
Both zones created by Sint Maarten and the Cayman Islands extend over 119,631 km2 and are seven in number shark sanctuaries in the Caribbean islands. Currently, 14 shark sanctuaries were created in the world, an area of 15.5 million square kilometers. The largest of them are created in the French Polynesia including sea surface is as large as Europe and those of the Marshall Islands, Micronesia or the Cook Islands.